Excuse Me, Ma’am, Can I Borrow Your Mini-Van?

Why I team up with friends

On a sticky August day with lake grit and sweat still on our skin, two good friends and I celebrated completing a triathlon. We chose Chambourcin and cheese at the winery where the race was held. Then, we returned to regular life, worn out but renewed by facing the challenge together. Our camaraderie is one of the reasons I race with pals.

Some other benefits are:

Sharing Our Strengths: My triathlon buddy is a fitness instructor. She beats me in every race. Why would I do this to myself? Because in addition to being a natural athlete, she’s a natural encourager. My strength is that I plan ahead and am eager to get my friends on board. In January, when my glum wintery thoughts start turning to summer, I send my friends links to race registration pages along with messages of, “Are you in?” Race with friends because every team member brings perspective that strengthens the relationship.

An Excuse to Get Together: My weekends are for catching up with family and maybe a load or ten of laundry. Friends get pushed to the back burner. When we race together, half the fun is the pre-race carpool chat. Not only are you setting aside time for each other, you’ll also get a boost from the built-in cheering section.

It Just Makes Things Easier: About that carpool. My race buddy has the suburban mom mini-van with automatic doors and sliding seats. I refuse to buy one because of my irrational denial that I’m getting older and am a suburban mom. Instead of fiddling with a cumbersome bike rack, we toss the bikes into the back. She presses the auto-close button, and we’re off. I contribute by bringing coffee for everyone. No one has to be in charge of everything.

Accountability: I get the text at 4:45 each Wednesday morning: “Up.” Most of the time, I am not. In fact, seeing “Up” when the phone buzzes is the push I need to get out of bed to meet my running buddy. A tough but supportive friend will help keep you on track.

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